Summary: The countdown for Windows XP is about to get serious. In one year, Microsoft officially stops supporting XP. What happens when the clock runs out? And how long until your current version of Windows or Office suffers the same fate?
For the next year or so, Microsoft will officially offer support for four versions of Windows for desktop and notebook PCs.
Windows XP, the oldest of the bunch, celebrates its 12th birthday this fall. It kicks off a year-long farewell tour next week, counting down to April 8, 2014, when Microsoft officially ends its support. XP lived longer than any version of Windows ever, getting multiple extensions on its retirement date to placate customers who said no to Vista. But April 2014 is the end of the road.
XP will not get a last-minute reprieve.
Let me say that again, in boldface this time: Microsoft will not extend the support deadline for XP. If you're still relying on XP, you should have a plan to switch to a supported platform, whether it's from Microsoft or someone else.
April 8, 2014 is a deadline, not a death sentence. PCs running XP will not stop working when the clock runs out. In fact, XP diehards won’t notice anything different except an eerie quiet on Patch Tuesday. Newer Windows versions, including Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8, will continue to get security patches and bug fixes via Windows Update, but not XP. When the extended support period ends, so do those updates. (Large enterprise customers who have custom support agreements with Microsoft and who are willing to pay dearly for the privilege might be able to get custom updates after the official end of support. But consumers and small businesses will not have that option.)
None of this should be a surprise. As I’ve noted before, Microsoft has a well-established support life-cycle for its software products. It’s basically an agreement that the company makes with everyone who commits to Windows. The terms of that agreement don’t change often, which is an important assurance for business customers who tend to be conservative in their approach to upgrades.
Six months after the launch of Windows 8, it’s become obvious that Windows 7 is the new Long Term Support version. And I'm starting to get more questions from readers who are concerned that Microsoft is going to try to kill off Windows 7.
MY OPINION: Microdunce can shove their to-hell-with-consumer policies up you-know-where.
I am NOT about to downgrade my PERFECTLY WORKING WinXP Desktop to a more hoggish, all eye-candy, version that will require me to manually reinstall over 100 apps.